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The Darley July Cup

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History

If you want a tip as to which horse will end the season as Europe’s top sprinter, then look no further than Newmarket’s Darley July Cup.

One of the most valuable and prestigious sprints of the British Flat racing calendar, the July Cup has a record of attracting the best contenders.

Jockey Hayley Turner had cause to celebrate in 2011 as she became the second woman to win a British Group 1 race on board the David Simcock-trained Dream Ahead. Run over six furlongs (1,200 metres) of the July Course, the Darley July Cup is open to three-year-olds or older while in 2013 Lethal Force smashed the track record with a pillar-to-post victory. In 2014 Slade Power followed in Lethal Force’s footsteps, winning both the Diamond Jubilee and the Darley July Cup.

Queen Victoria may have been hard to amuse but the first two runnings of this race, in 1876-7, must have raised a faint smile. Both were won by Springfield, who was bred by the monarch.

Current leading jockeys: Paul Hanagan, 2 wins (2012, 2015)
Current leading trainers: Aidan O’Brien, 3 wins (1999, 2001, 2010); Sir Michael Stoute, 3 wins (1981, 1986-7)

Previous winners

Year Horse Jockey Trainer Owner Prize money

Entries

Going/Track

Weather

No/Draw Horse/Jockey Age Form/Type BHA Rating Weight Trainer Odds

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Harry Angel is Cup cracker for Cox

Clive Cox said that Harry Angel had “become a man” as he gained a superb victory in the Darley July Cup at Newmarket and immediately outlined two more QIPCO British Champions Series races for him before the end of the season.

The three-year-old had ground to make up on the re-opposing Caravaggio from their meeting in the Commonwealth Cup at Royal Ascot, but reversed the form in some style in the hands of Adam Kirby to give Sheikh Mohammed, founder of owners Godolphin, a memorable 68th birthday present.

Just as he had done in Berkshire last month, 9-2 chance Harry Angel made a smart start and tracked Caravaggio’s pacemaker Intelligence Cross for much of the six-furlong contest.

Harry Angel hit the front about a furlong from home and never looked like being beaten from then on under an exultant Adam Kirby.

Cox’s charge galloped all the way to the line to score by a comprehensive length and a quarter from last year’s winner Limato, with Brando running on into third.

Caravaggio, the 10-11 favourite to extend his unbeaten record to seven, was already under pressure and never looked like bridging the gap.

“He’s growing up all the time and he came here with a really good feel,” Cox said. “There isn’t a lot of time between Ascot and here so a lot of it is instinctive but the instinctive impression was very good, right from the moment he came off the track at Ascot to be honest.

“Kevin, who rides him at home, was delighted with the way he came out of Ascot and we were very pleased going into the race at Ascot, but even more happy that he’s become a man.”

The Lambourn trainer added: “He’s won his Group 1 and further progress in the department now looks on the cards, probably starting at Haydock (Sprint Cup) and the QIPCO British Champions Sprint would be another race for him. He is very versatile ground wise so we are lucky in that respect.

“He’s pretty special. This was one of the nicest July Cups I’ve seen in my lifetime and I’m very proud to win it.”

Winning jockey Adam Kirby added: “He proved how good he is today and I’m delighted. He’s a machine, the best you will see for a long time – I truly believe that.”

Harry Bentley was delighted with the run of Limato. He said: “He has run a great race. He picked up fantastic for me and has given me a wonderful feel. I don’t think we could have done anything differently.”

Kevin Ryan, trainer of Brando, who was half a length further back in third, felt the ground was against the five-year-old. “This horse would have liked a bit easier ground but Tom [Eaves] has given him a great ride and he got him to relax and he finished his race great.

“The Sprint Cup, then Champions Sprint – the programme almost picks itself. I would like to go back to Ascot for Champions Day. He ran there on the back of the Ayr Gold Cup last year, and he will probably have a little bit more time in between this year.”

Results

Position Horse Jockey Trainer Owner
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The Course

Newmarket is known as the “Home of Racing” - and who would argue?

Certainly not James I, the first notable fan who built a palace in the Suffolk town in 1605. Racing fanatic Charles II followed suit, establishing the first horse race ever run in Britain under written rules. The Rowley Mile Racecourse, indeed – one of two at Newmarket, the other being the July Course – is named after his favourite hack, Old Rowley.

Today, Newmarket is horseracing’s centre of the Universe, with 2,500 thoroughbreds in training, shared by 75 licensed trainers and spread out over 2,800 acres of training grounds. Oh, and there’s also enough space left over for 65 stud farms, including the National Stud, and Tattersalls, the biggest horse sales company in Europe.

The QIPCO 2000 Guineas, one of Britain’s five Classics, is hosted by Newmarket. The race was first run in 1809. The venue also stages the QIPCO 1000 Guineas.

Getting there

Newmarket Racecourses,
Westfield House,
The Links,
Newmarket,
Suffolk,
CB8 0TG

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